Film: Winstanley u rating Year: 1975
Winstanley DVD COver
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Country: UK Genre: Historical Drama
Director: Kevin Brownlow
Starring: Miles Halliwell, Jerome Willis, Terry Higgins, Phil Oliver, David Bramley

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Latest: The BFI finally gave Winstanley its debut UK DVD (and Blu-ray) release on August 3rd 2009. A book about the making of the film entitled 'Winstanley: Warts and All' has also been published to coincide with the release. All three are available from the Alt-Flix DVD store.

Winstanley Synopsis - Winstanley is set during the upheaval of the English Civil War, and in particular, centres around a sect of peaceful commune dwellers called "The Diggers", who set up camp on"common" land in order to work the land and live off it. They believe that all land should be made freely available for all to live off. Their spokesman, Gerard Winstanley, is an articulate and a gentle man, who keeps the camp together after numerous attempts by local landowners to run them off the land. Despite all provocation Winstanley refuses to raise a hand against his fellow man and instead pleas his case with the local magistrate, hoping to be able to stay on the land and for him to make the unlawful attacks on the camp desist.

Review of Winstanley - Winstanley is a tremendous achievement in film making. It is effectively an amateur film made by volunteers with the expectation that no one would get paid for working on the film, and a cast with mostly no experience of acting. Despite this, the attention to detail is superb and, both the script and location shooting is hugely impressive. There is no doubt that a film subject like this, would never have been made by a film company, and that even Winstanley himself would have been proud of such an venture of comradery and altruism.
The reasons I recommend Winstanley are: 1. This film is a fantastic insight not only into the civil war but also into human nature (and in particular how little human nature changes) . 2. It is a superb piece of work celebrating a forgotten (buried) English hero. 3. Its eye for detail provides a fantastically accurate portrait of life in those turbulent times.